California Dreaming

I am so excited about today’s post!  It had been too long since I had last been to the ocean, and even longer still since I had been there on a vacation, so getting to spend a day warm on the sand was heavenly (and to anyone who caught that Disney reference, we are instant besties).   If I am being honest, the weather was a little cooler than I had hoped for, I think it was in the upper fifties, maybe low sixties, but I still pulled out my swimsuit and a cute summer dress for the day.   Monterrey was a little less than a three hour drive away and we headed straight for Carmel Beach in Carmel-By-The-Sea.  I had a lot of people hype this place up to me, and often when that happens I find myself disappointed, but truthfully, it was better than any expectations I had!  The water was so beautiful and the atmosphere there is something I cannot describe.  Driving through Carmel-By-The-Sea on the way to the beach was like driving through a fairy tale!  Every home was so unique and had a magical look unlike anything I have ever seen!  Then to walk from such a setting straight onto the beach… truly, there are not words to describe it.  If you are ever in the area, truly give yourself more than a day.  I am already dreaming of going back and spending longer in this beautiful area of California!

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The first thing I wanted to do was run and get my feet in the water, so I slipped my sandals off and I was ready to go!  I literally ran straight into the water and quickly discovered that it was cold!  I may have worn my swimsuit under my dress, but it sadly never did see the light of day, though I am still thankful I wore it since I did still manage to get wet while playing chicken with the waves, lol.

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Now, for a fun and random side note, I totally chose this outfit on purpose for a very unique reason.   When I first saw the movie Monte Carlo, I fell in love with Meg’s character and her sense of fashion.  My most favorite outfit that she wore was a peach shirt dress that doubled over her navy swimsuit and I was determined to find a way to duplicate that look the next time I made my way back to the beach and I am so excited that I was able to keep that promise to myself.  If you don’t remember what outfit I am talking about, go watch the movie or google “Meg from Monte Carlo’s shirt dress” and you’ll be able to see why I was so excited with how close this duplicate turned out!

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We spent several hours at the beach just wandering up and down it absorbing the beauty of it all.  One thing that we all discussed later that we really liked about our friend group was that while we were good about taking pictures, we were also really good at putting our phones away everywhere we went and just living in the moment spending time with each other and experiencing everything!   We all walked away with many pictures, but more importantly were able to walk away feeling like we actually lived our trip and not just photographed it which can often be a hard balance to find.

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Lori walking along the beach taking in the view of Pebble Beach Golf Course

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Candid of Megan and her boyfriend Ben sitting on the beach

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The sad thing is that the pictures don’t even do it justice as beautiful as they are!

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Me, Megan, Ben and Lori

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From Carmel Beach we decided to drive high way one all the way down past Big Sur which was a dream come true!  I grew up reading about this beautiful stretch of coastline and to be able to actually drive the highway that so many of my favorite book characters have driven was so surreal.   I can’t say for sure, but I do believe that we pulled over at nearly every.single.outlook. along the whole coast!  Each view was more beautiful than the last and deserved to be stopped and admired.  One word of advice though, take dramamine. Even if you are not normally prone to car sickness, believe me, Highway One will be the place you discover you can get it.

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The water was so clear and blue it didn’t even look real!

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Because good friends take that cute “pinterest picture” for you… 😉

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Then, we were there, the Big Sur Bridge!  It held a totally different kind of beauty than the Golden Gate in SF, but it was still so stunning!  You might say we were a little obsessed with bridges on this trip…

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After Big Sur Bridge, we had to decide whether we continued on for another thirty minutes to see McWay Falls, or head back to Monterrey to eat dinner since we were all starting to get hungry.  After a hard time making a decision, we last minute decided to go ahead and fully dive into the adventure we were on and go to the waterfall and we did not regret it for a single moment.  To see such a beautiful waterfall falling straight into the ocean is something that if given the opportunity a person should never miss out upon.

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Xoxo,
Leighton Michele

Outfit Details (you didn’t really think I was going to leave you hanging?!)

Dress: Similar , Similar, Similar, Similar  Swimsuit: Same Sandals: Same

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Fresno… Change in Plans

Today’s post is a little shorter than my last post on my trip to California.  Our second day we were supposed to go to Sequoia National Park, BUT there was a blizzard there that day and none of us were feeling the need to go freeze, lol.   While we were sad we wouldn’t be able to go to Sequoia, we all decided to just roll with it and this day ended up being one of our most favorite ones from the trip!

We started the day hanging out at Megan’s house making breakfast, she made the BEST little egg muffins that we all enjoyed.  Truthfully, I am still craving them several weeks later!

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After breakfast we took our time at the house getting ready for the  day and discussing different options.   The weather was beautiful, so we decided to pack a picnic and just see where the wind took us.  We spent the morning driving through many of the beautiful older neighborhoods that Fresno has to offer and enjoyed dreaming about those beautiful homes.  When we finally decided we were hungry enough we headed to Woodard Park to enjoy our picnic.

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Since at this point the weather was still cool for the most part back home, this was my first picnic of the year and I loved getting to enjoy it with such great friends!

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After this we were off for the only big plan we made on this random, spur of the moment day: an escape room!  Almost all of us had been to escape rooms before, and up to this point we had all managed to be undefeated, so to say the pressure was on is an understatement.  Each of us are competitive, so the second we were “locked” in our room, we were all diving in trying to find our clues!  This escape room was unique from ones I have done in the past due to the fact that instead of many clues being available to be searched out at once in no particular order much of the time, every clue had to be found in a particular order to unlock the next clue.  It made for a very unique experience, but one that we all loved.  If you have never done an escape room before, stop reading this post right now and call up some friends to go do one together, you will not regret it!

Also, needless to say, our winning streak is still intact, we made it out with 11 minutes and 43 seconds to spare.

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After the escape room, we decided to drive around downtown Fresno and do some exploring.  While down there we found some unique wall murals that we could not bear to say no too.  The bright colours were so beautiful and really brightened the area up!

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(L to R: Me, Megan and Lori)

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Megan and her boyfriend Ben

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Megan with a Fresno wall mural

Then we decided to finish the day in the most California way we could think of, a visit to In-N-Out, and of course, you can’t make a visit to this famous burger joint without getting a selfie with one of their famous burgers:

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If you know me, then you know I am not normally a big fast food person, but not gonna lie, In-N-Out has gained a new fan.  Now when can we get one here in the Mid-West???

Xoxo,

Leighton Michele

San Francisco… Take 1

Hi Everyone!

I am so excited for today’s post!  It is going to be part one of three or four sharing my adventures from my spring break trip to California!   If you follow me on Instagram you know that I went to California for spring break with some friends to visit one of our good friends, Megan, who is a travel nurse in California!  It was such an adventure!

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Our plane flew into San Francisco around 9:30 a.m. and we hit the ground running.  We decided to head down to Fisherman’s Wharf and do some sight seeing in that area for the day before we headed back to pick Megan up from work.

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There was this adorable bakery, Boudin’s, that had the CUTEST breads made into the shapes of animals!  You could stand at the window outside looking in watching them form the bread into all of the animals you can purchase.  I was mesmerized by it and truthfully could have stood there all day watching.  If you are ever in the area I definitely recommend stopping by for lunch or an afternoon stack, the ambiance of this place is perfect.

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*everywhere you look, everywhere you go, there’s a heart, a hand to hold onto. everywhere you look, there’s a face of somebody who needs you…*

I may have been guilty of playing the theme song from Full House like every other minute while we were there…. I am so thankful for friends that are 90’s kids too and were so understanding of my fan-girling about being in San Francisco.

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As a recovering chocoholic, I thought that Ghiradelli Square was the absolute cutest and was head over heals in love with their shop.  I mean, flowers, cute outdoor seating and chocolate, how could you go wrong?

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There are so many cute shops along Fisherman’s Wharf, you could spend days there and still not see all of them.  I loved the fun colours and almost storybook feel in San Francisco.  I have never been to a city so full of colour and life that even on a grey, drizzly day it still feels like sunshine!

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I have dreamed of going to the Golden Gate Bridge for years and am so happy to say that it did not disappoint.  The beauty of that bridge against the backdrop of San Francisco is breathtaking and something that stays with you long after you wish San Francisco goodbye.

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Then, as if our day couldn’t be any more perfect, we wrapped our time up in San Francisco by finding THE Full House house!!!!  Que the Full House theme song all over again, this girl was on cloud nine!

But, the best part was still a nearly three hour drive away, although it is grainy and we are all a little rumpled from a day of travel, the picture below might be my most favorite picture from the whole trip:

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(L-R, Lori, Megan and Me)

FINALLY REUNITED WITH MEGAN!  These two girls are two of my best friends and it has been hard having one of us so far away, so to finally be reunited was INCREDIBLE!  Guys, community is SO important, and getting to have mine reunited for the week was the best gift we could have had and absolutely made this trip to California.  This picture was taken moments after we were reunited and I think the joy in our smiles tells the whole story.

In the next post I’ll share more of our trip, but for now, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post on the first day in California!  I’ll link my outfit details below.

Xoxo,

Leighton Michele

Rain Jacket: Same (my pattern is no longer available, but these other patterns are adorable too!)  Shoes: Similar (these shoes were perfect on the trip) Blush Shirt: Similar

Happy Easter

What my sisters and I are wearing:

Left: Top (similar), Skirt (similar), Shoes (similar)

Middle (me): Dress (similar), Shoes (same)

Right: Dress (same), Shoes (similar)

“God proved His love on the Cross.  When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.'”

-Billy Graham

I love this quote by Billy Graham, for truly, this the whole meaning behind Easter.  We never need to look any further than the cross in questioning how great the Father’s love for us is.   God loved us so much that He chose not to leave us in our sin, separated from Him for eternity in the punishment that we deserved.  Rather, He sent His only Son who knew no sin to become sin and die a gruesome, horrific death on the cross so that we might be reconciled with God!  But, the best news of all is that Jesus didn’t stay in the grave, for if He had, all hope would have been lost, but rather, on the third day He rose and now all who believe in Him can have eternal life and are adopted into the family of God!  I will never be able to fathom the kind of love that drove God to do such a great thing for me, but I will forever be grateful for this great love of His!

I have been loving the song Reckless Loveand thought I would share the lyrics of the chorus here today for Easter as they are so perfect for today:

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.  Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine.  I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still you gave yourself away.  Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.

Happy Easter sweet friends!

Xoxo,

Leighton Michele

New Year, New Resolution

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Dress: Versona (sold out online, but I’ve seen it still in stores)

 Jacket: Similar Shoes: Similar

Happy New Year Everybody!

If you have been around for awhile, you may remember that last year I shared with you that I don’t enjoy doing the traditional resolutions, but rather enjoy picking a trait or two to work on for the year.  Last year my words were to be gentle and kind, and while I was not perfect, I have definitely seen growth in this and am so thankful that I spent the past year focusing on this.  There were several times where because I had this at the front of my mind I acted in a kinder and more gentle manner than I might have otherwise.

I have been looking forward to sharing my words for this year with all of you for sometime now.  While spending some time with God last October, I felt him leading me to have my words for 2018 be faith and courage.  This year I want to focus on having faith and trusting God at a new level, knowing that He will never lead me wrong.  This is so much easier said than done, and that is where the courage comes into play.  Sometimes it is scary to step out on faith, and this year I want to have the courage to go wherever God may lead me.

And while this isn’t part of my “words for the year”, I want to draw closer to God and own my identity in Him of a sinner saved by grace and a beloved daughter adopted into His family.  What are your goals and resolutions for the new year?  Does anyone else choose a word or words to try to define your year with?  If so, I’d love to hear them!

Xoxo,

Leighton Michele

Christmas Recap

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https://flic.kr/p/HXqSWT

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https://flic.kr/p/ELB4Eq

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Sweater: Jcrew Old (similar) (similar)  (similar) Necklace: Versona Old (similar) Boots: Old (this years version) Purse: Similar

Christmas began early this year for my family.  My aunts, uncles and cousins all came in town on the 22nd and we celebrated on the 23rd.  It was a little smaller gathering this year than in years past due to scheduling conflicts, but it was still so much fun to spend time with family!  My cousin has been wanting me to make my hot chocolate for her ever since I posted about it, so I promised her that when she came in town for Christmas I would make it then.  We got in the car and braved the grocery store to pickup the ingredients and had fun making hot chocolate.  Afterwards we all gathered around and opened presents.  All too soon the time came for family to head home, but thankfully Christmas weekend was still just beginning!

Christmas Eve I went to a candlelight service in the evening.  I am an old soul at heart, so I loved being at church in a room filled with candlelight singing carols of old and remembering the true reason for Christmas.  Christmas has always been my most favorite time of the year, everyone is a little nicer, the winter evenings are lit by twinkling lights, and there is this wonderful feeling of expectation, knowing that something is coming.  It is the time that we celebrate when God set his biggest and most beautiful miracle of all time into motion, the coming of His son as a baby to grow up and die for our sins to save us all.  The miracle that would be completed thirty three years later on a cross and then in an empty tomb.  It truly does not get better than that!

After the candlelight service my dad read one of our favorite Christmas stories to the family.  It is in this tiny old book called A Budget of Christmas Tales and is maybe three pages long, but it leaves us in stitches of laughter every time.  It is called Billy’s Santa Claus Experience and tells the tale of a young boy named Billy who tries to be Santa Claus to his little brother Tommy, but things quickly get out of hand.  My dad first read the book to my sisters and I when we were quite young, and it is one of my favorite stories to read at Christmas.

Before we knew it, Christmas morning was upon us!  We all gathered around the tree where my dad read the Christmas story from Luke before we opened presents.  This year all I asked for was money to buy books for school.  I was sooooo excited when between my Christmas and birthday money I was able to buy a commentary set for the New Testament!  I cannot wait until it arrives in the mail early next week!  We spent the day with some of my grandparents and in the evening we decorated gingerbread houses together.  When it came time for the judging I came in last place, but what can I say, it was my first time and my house kept falling apart while I was decorating it, lol.  Lesson learned, NEVER decorate the house until the icing is dry!

How was your Christmas?  Do you have any special traditions that you enjoy doing each year?

Xoxo,

Leighton Michele

A Very Versona Christmas

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Shirt: Same c/0  Necklace: Versona (not online) c/o  Shoes: Old (similar)

I was so excited when Versona reached out to me asking if I’d be interested in sharing their Christmas collection!  They have the cutest things not just for yourself, but also for the other women in your life.  I literally had so much fun shopping not just for a fun Christmas party look, but also finding presents for my friends!  I’d share with you what I found, but since they haven’t opened them yet I think I better not.  😉  One of my favorite parts about Versona is that when I am shopping I can always count on the wonderful sales associates to help me out if I need some help.  I fell head over heels in love with this shirt, but I couldn’t decide on a necklace.  When I shared my vision with the sales associate, she literally pulled not one or two, but FOUR necklaces that were spot on for what I described.  I know I can always count on them to help me figure out accessories if I need help.

If you follow me on Instagram then you know that I tried on everything from the adorable work office party dress, to Christmas Eve and staying comfy at home with your family look.  In the end I decided upon this beautiful blouse and necklace.  I loved the idea that I could wear it to a more casual party with jeans as shown here, or I could pair it with a cute midi or tutu skirt for a dressier occasion.  Versatility is a key for me when choosing items to add to my wardrobe.

If you have any last minute parties or family get-togethers (or just want a cute festive outfit “just because”) check out Versona’s  holiday collection.  I promise you that you will not be disappointed.  I even found my perfect New Years Eve dress that I can’t wait to share with you after Christmas!

Xoxo,

Leighton Michele

*a special thanks to Versona for sponsoring this post*